Meet Barbara Winter


Barbara J Winter is a pioneering self-employment advocate, writer and teacher who has spent the last twenty-five years pondering the question, “Why aren’t we all self-employed?” Helping others discover the Joyfully Jobless life is her favorite occupation. To readers of Read more

Benvenuto!


Buon viaggio….good journey. How nice to have you along. This blog has been a long time brewing. Hardly a day passes when I don’t come across a fascinating new business idea, inspiring story or useful resource and want to pass Read more

All in a Day’s Work

Barbara Postcard from Barbara 1

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I realized I was halfway through my seminar series at UNLV in Las Vegas. Little did I know that the day was also going to bring a parade of unusually fascinating people.

After getting ready for the day, I headed to the hotel coffee shop. As I was having my first (and only) coffee of the day, I decided to check messages on my iPad.

There was only one other person in the shop, a young man with his MacBook set up, checking messages on his iPhone while listening to his iPod.  Ah, I thought, a fellow member in the Cult of Apple.

A few minutes later, he interrupted me and asked if I’d watch his things while he ran to the restroom. When he returned, I asked him where he was from. “Where do you think?” he countered.

“I think you’re from the UK,” I replied. He said I was correct and we began talking. He told me that he was on a long trip to the US that began in Miami, continued in Austin, and after his week in Las Vegas he planned to head to San Diego until his return home in the early May.“I need to get some work done so I’m ready to be in one place for a while,” he said.

Since I interrogate everyone I can about their work, I asked him what he did. Turns out he runs his own online business.He said the first two years had been difficult, but now in the third year he had made some changes and was seeing  success. He confided that he was eager to be totally portable.

I asked him if he’d encountered Marianne Cantwell, but she wasn’t familiar to him. Within a minute he had located information on her book Be a Free Range Human and was ready to acquire a copy.

When I casually mentioned that my testimonial was on the cover of Marianne’s book, he asked if Making a Living Without a Job was available on Kindle. He said he was going to order that, too.

That jolly encounter was just the beginning, however. Both of my Saturday seminars were filled with delightful students.

There was an enthusiastic young man who told us that he was annoyed about all the plastic straws he was throwing away everyday. So he found someone on Etsy to make him his very own reusable wooden straw. (Who knew?)

There was Pete Young who had flown in on Friday from Seattle for my programs. He said that for years he’d been in sales and traveled constantly. “This is the first plane I’ve been on in six years,” he grinned.

Before my final seminar of the series, a man came in the room, walked over and asked if I recognized him. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t get any farther than that. “1998. Burnsville Community Ed. Norm Kunselmann,” he said.

Of course!

Norm was the permanently cheerful program director I’d worked with back in Minnesota. He had relocated to Las Vegas and was about to start working with UNLV’s continuing education program.

Then there was one of my favorite moments of the day. When Patrice Snead, a returning student who coaches women entrepreneurs, walked up to ask me a question, I asked one first. “How tall are you?”

She laughed and said her official height was 5’11’’. Then she said, “When I’m at networking events or out meeting people, I sometimes say, ‘I’m so tall I can see opportunities you might miss.’”

Best of all, there had been plenty of networking and resource sharing going on in all four of my programs as this curious group got to know each other.

Apparently, it was a fine weekend to be a gypsy teacher. This morning Tama Kieves had this to say about her time in New York:

Last night after my A Course of Miracles workshop in NYC, a bunch of us spontaneously went out to Whole Foods. We closed the place down with laughter. Doing the work you love can create soul “family” for you, income stream, & joy. What is not “safe” about this?

Gather a Group

Barbara The Pleasure of Their Company 1

Recently, Alice Barry and I were talking and the conversation turned to something that mystifies both of us. As Alice put it, “Everyone says they want community and want to meet with other self-bossers, but few people take the initiative to put a group together.”

 

Honestly, I can’t think of anyone who successfully launched a business without intentional and regular contact with other entrepreneurs. Such invaluable connections were encouraged in Napoleon Hill’s success classic, Think and Grow Rich, where I first encountered the concept of the Master Mind group. After reading about it, I realized that it was an idea I’d seen in action many times. Every town in America (and elsewhere) probably has informal Master Mind groups which meet all the time. In small towns, you see clusters of businessowners gathering for breakfast or lunch to discuss local issues and create plans for making their spot of Earth a better place.

 

A true Master Mind group is small and members have been invited or selected to participate. The focus is sharp and the purpose clearly defined. It goes beyond simply meeting for companionship. For solo entrepreneurs, such a group is essential, it seems to me, and many small businessowners recognize that. However, waiting for someone else to take the initiative to get a group rolling is dicey. 

 

If you want to be the one who creates a local group of your own, here are some things to keep in mind.

 

√ Decide if you prefer a general group where members are doing a variety of things or if you want one made up of people with a common interest (such as writers or life coaches). Also decide if you want a mix of new and more experienced folks, or if you prefer one or the other.

 

√ Solicit participation by personal invitations to people you know or put out the word via Twitter or MeetUp. The most successful groups I’ve seen have been largely handpicked. However, an elitist approach won’t produce the best results.

 

√ Keep initial membership small. If your group attracts more than a dozen people, consider splitting into smaller groups.

 

√ Make it clear that a commitment to the group is important and no one should get involved if they aren’t willing to make participation for at least six months a top priority.

 

√ Unless all members are personal friends, hold meetings in a neutral location such as a coffee shop or restaurant—not in your home. Many libraries have free meetings rooms which can be reserved.

 

√ If you are meeting for two hours, use part of the time for a planned program or discussion and the rest for informal networking with each member sharing progress and problems.

 

√ Shared resources, book recommendations and so forth can be a regular feature of your meetings with members volunteering to share good ideas they’ve discovered.

 

√ Let leadership/planning responsibilities rotate.

 

√ From time to time, plan a Success Night to celebrate accomplishments and offer applause. This is especially important for people who are working solo and don’t get regular recognition. If you have several groups operating in your city, this could be a joint affair.

 

√ Remember, too, that when it comes to relationships, not all of the people we meet remain a permanent part of our life. If your first group doesn’t work out as planned, be willing to try again with a different cast of characters.